The Los Angeles Angels have a deeper bullpen than they've had in a very long time. They have a combination of veterans and younger arms that will all be very impactful in the 2023 season.
One question that has been asked about the bullpen since day one of the offseason is who will be the closer? Carlos Estevez was and likely still is the favorite, but he's struggled this spring. Jimmy Herget closed last year, could it be him? What about Matt Moore? Or even someone like Ben Joyce who hasn't thrown a MLB pitch yet?
There's also a chance Phil Nevin opts to just play the matchups and not name a sure closer (which I'd also be fine with). For the sake of argument, if they do name a closer, who should it be?
Carlos Estevez should still get the first crack at the Angels closer job
The Angels signed Carlos Estevez to a two-year $13.5 million dollar deal this past offseason. He's a guy who might not have the best career numbers, but he had a good year in 2022 and has always pitched well on the road. Coors Field has had a major impact on Estevez and his numbers.
The new Angel has struggled to begin his tenure. He's allowed eight runs in 3.2 innings pitched. He's walked 10 batters which is obviously ridiculously high, while only striking out three batters. It's important to note is that it's only Spring Training, and sometimes players like to experiment in the spring. That's exactly what Estevez is doing.
The veteran right-hander has been working up in the zone because he's had success there in his MLB career. He's also trying to use a new grip on his changeup and to throw a harder slider according to Sam Blum of The Athletic (subscription required). The results haven't quite been there, but we do know part of the reason why.
I think how Estevez finishes the spring will be important. If he continues to struggle with his command as much as he has, it'll be hard to justify starting him out in such an important position.
Looking at the other options, the Angels do have many. Guys like Jimmy Herget and Matt Moore would likely be the next men up. Herget had a really good year for the Angels last season and was the closer by the end of the season. Moore was one of the better left-handed relievers in baseball overall.
As cool as it'd be to see someone like Ben Joyce be the closer right away, that'll never happen. If he does make the roster and is the pitcher we all think he is and can be, maybe he could steal that spot from Estevez or whoever the closer is.
For now, Estevez should be considered the favorite. Herget and Moore would be decent options as well.